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Letter to Secretaries of State re: iVotronic “Vote Flipping”

Joint letter from the Brennan Center for Justice and Verified Voting urging 16 Secretaries of State to make voters aware of reported “vote flipping” problems on iVotronic voting machines in use in their states.

Published: October 27, 2008

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This letter was sent to 16 Secret­ar­ies of State where iVotronic voting machines are in use. These states are: Arkan­sas, Color­ado, Flor­ida, Indi­ana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Missis­sippi, North Caro­lina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Caro­lina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wiscon­sin.

Dear Secret­ary of State:

You may be aware of recent press reports of prob­lems that voters are having during early voting with the iVotronic voting machine in West Virginia and Tennessee. Specific­ally, voters have complained of “vote flip­ping,” where they vote for one candid­ate or party, but another shows up on the review screen.

There is a good chance that at least part of this prob­lem can be attrib­uted to calib­ra­tion on the iVotronic machines.  West Virgini­a’s Secret­ary of State Betty Ireland has direc­ted all counties in West Virginia to re-calib­rate their machines each morn­ing during early voting, which runs until Novem­ber 1st, and on Elec­tion Day, Novem­ber 4th.

As repor­ted by the Asso­ci­ated Press on Octo­ber 23rd, Secret­ary Ireland has reminded voters that they should contact a poll worker if they have any prob­lems using an elec­tronic voting machine, and that they should care­fully confirm their candid­ate choices on the accom­pa­ny­ing paper receipt attached to each iVotronic machine.

She also reminded voters in that they can ask for help and “keep that poll clerk there until the voter is satis­fied they have cast their vote as they inten­ded.  This may include moving to another machine, if that is the voter’s wish.”

There is a real chance that voters using iVotronic machines in your state will exper­i­ence “vote flip­ping” similar to that exper­i­enced by voters in West Virginia.  You may already have provided guid­ance to your state’s iVotronic juris­dic­tions, but if not, we urge you to take actions similar to those taken by Secret­ary Ireland, to avoid voter confu­sion and frus­tra­tion, and to ensure that every vote is cast as inten­ded.  Where a voter-veri­fi­able paper trail is avail­able, voters should also be urged to confirm their candid­ate choices.

For more inform­a­tion about calib­ra­tion issues on touch­screen DRE voting machines, we direct you to this article: http://accur­ate-voting.org/2006/11/01/touch­screen-calib­ra­tion-issues-with-voting-machines/.

Please feel free to contact us with ques­tions.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Norden
Coun­sel, Bren­nan Center for Justice
lawrence.norden@nyu.edu

Pamela Smith
Pres­id­ent, Veri­fied Voting
pam@veri­fied­vot­ing.org